image.img_.320.high_.jpgA. Desiree LaBeaud, MD, MS

Principal Investigator

Dr. Desiree LaBeaud is a physician scientist, epidemiologist, and professor for the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. She studies the epidemiology and ecology of domestic and international arboviruses and emerging infections, with an interest in the vector, host, and environmental factors that affect transmission dynamics and spectrum of disease.

Dr. LaBeaud received her MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and trained with the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital pediatric residency program and the pediatric infectious disease fellowship program at Case Western Reserve University, while earning her master’s degree in Clinical Research and Epidemiology. She currently heads a clinical research lab focused on better understanding the risk factors and long-term health consequences of arboviral infections, specifically Rift Valley fever, chikungunya, dengue fever, and Zika disease. Her lab also investigates the genetic and immunologic differences that influence variable host responses to arboviral infections, and develops diagnostic tests that can be administered in the field to quickly and accurately determine infections. A primary focus is also to understand local and personal perceptions of mosquito-borne disease risk in order to engage community action in prevention. Her current field sites include Kenya, Grenada, and Brazil.

Dr. LaBeaud dressed as an Aedes aegypti mosquito

Dr. LaBeaud is affiliated with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment & Resources, and the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University. She serves as a Deputy Editor for the Public Library of Sciences Neglected Tropical Diseases Journal, as an Editorial Advisor for the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and is a reviewer for many scientific journals. She also serves on a number of National Institute of Health study sections, is the American Society of Tropical medicine and Hygiene Keen committee chair and Green Task Force chair. She is an past chair of the American Committee of Arthropod-borne Viruses (ACAV) and currently serves on the board of directors for the American Society of Tropical medicine and Hygiene.

Dr. LaBeaud’s Stanford School of Medicine CAP Profile

Vacant position: Lab Manager


Sonia BiopicSonia Alvarez, MA, MPH

Projects Manager

Prior to migrating to the United States, I spent the early years of my life in Cuba and Puerto Rico. I obtained a Master of Arts degree in Social-Community Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras in 1980. After working various social service-related positions, I obtained a Master in Public Health degree at San Jose State University in 2008 to solidify my career in public health education. From inception, I have directed my professional choices towards social service programs and interventions aimed at restoring social justice and empowering the under-served. For the last fifteen years, I have planned, designed, taught, coordinated and evaluated community-based health education programs.  I have mentored community health workers and trained trainers on the internationally known Stanford self-management programs for chronic diseases. I am interested in high-quality, high-impact scientific research. I am also interested in being part of multi-disciplinary teams, translational research, and global health.

Caroline picture

Caroline W Ichura, MBCh.B, MPH

Research Data Manager

I am an epidemiologist and the research data manager for the LaBeaud Lab at Stanford University.  I obtained my medical degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya which was later followed by my MPH in epidemiology from The George Washington University, in DC. I am eager to use all my experiences and skills to develop evidence-based solutions that reduce the morbidity and mortality caused by various infectious diseases pathogens. During my free time, I do enjoy a good road trip, hiking, and listening to podcasts. 

DV1David Vu, MD, MS

Instructor of Pediatrics

I am interested in the interactions between host and pathogen, with a particular interest in functional mechanisms of antibodies. Currently, I am researching human responses to dengue virus and malaria infections in a project supported by an NIAID Career Development Award (K23 AI127909) and an Instructor K Award Support Program Award from the Maternal & Child Health Research Institute and Department of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. I earned my B.S. degree in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience from UC San Diego in 1996, and M.D. from University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine in 2000. I completed my pediatrics training at Children’s Hospital Oakland in 2007, during which I completed a Ruth L. Kirschstein post-doctoral research fellowship studying meningococcal vaccine responses. I completed my clinical fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine in 2009. I received my M.S. in Epidemiology and Clinical Research from Stanford University School of Medicine in 2019.

Dr. Vu’s Stanford School of Medicine CAP Profile

Joelle Rosser photoJoelle Rosser, MD, DTM&H

Clinical Postdoctoral Fellow

I am an infectious disease fellow interested in climate change and emerging infectious diseases. I completed my bachelor’s degrees in Human Biology and African Studies from the University of California, San Diego, my medical degree from Emory University, my residency in internal medicine at University of Washington, and my diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene through the Gorgas Course in Lima, Peru. I lived in East Africa for three years prior to and during medical school, working on various public health and research projects. I am currently a Fogarty Fellow in the LaBeaud Lab and am excited to continue working with Dr. LaBeaud and our Kenyan collaborators who first inspired me as a medical student nearly a decade ago to study vector-borne disease epidemiology. 


Aslam Khan, DO

Fellow, Pediatric Infectious Diseases

I am a pediatric infectious diseases fellow with an interest in employing infectious diagnostics in resource limited settings, characterization of asymptomatic infections in specific populations, and global health.  I received my bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology with emphasis in Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the University of California, Berkeley, my medical degree from Midwestern University AZCOM, and completed pediatrics training with a chief residency year at the Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center.  I will be evaluating asymptomatic infections for both chikungunya virus and dengue virus in Kenya and also aim to optimize the rRT-PCR multiplex testing with varying sample types.  Outside the hospital and laboratory, I enjoy a multitude of sports (both playing and watching) and travel photography.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is iza.jpgIzabela Mauricio Rezende, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I am virologist and postdoctoral fellow for the LaBeaud Lab. I obtained my PhD in Microbiology from Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, where I studied the yellow fever virus, regarding epidemiological, virological, and evolutive aspects from a huge YF outbreak that took place in Brazil. During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Brazil, I worked on the diagnostic team at Laboratório de Vírus, Belo Horizonte, to face the advanced of the disease. At LaBeaud Lab I will try better describing the new clinical picture discovered during the YF outbreak in Brazil, named “Late-Relapsing hepatitis after yellow fever” concerning clinical, epidemiological and virological characteristics. We are also trying to better understand aspects related to the yellow fever outbreak, regarding the virus, epidemiology, risk factors, severity of the disease, severity predictors, outcomes, among others. I am interested in continuing working with viruses, specially emerging viruses, trying to better understand huge outbreaks and how virology, evolutive aspects and epidemiology can contribute and explain this scenario. I am also interested in emerging viruses’ molecular evolution and dynamics.

Keli Gerken,  DVMlessformalheadshot_

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I am a veterinarian and post-doctoral researcher for the LaBeaud Lab.  I am a Global Health Equity Scholar through the Fogarty International Program at the NIH. I received my DVM degree from North Carolina State University and a certificate in Global Health. While I was in veterinary school, I was heavily focused in epidemiology and public health and worked on a project in Ethiopia with woman dairy farmers. My professional interest in zoonotic diseases stem from my appreciation of the connection between livestock ownership and livelihoods, particularly with poor small stake holder farmers. As a member of the LaBeaud lab team, I will be based in Kenya coordinating a project to qualitatively assess community risk of Rift Valley Fever virus. This mixed methods project will test participants for acute infection and exposure to RVFV and utilize a questionnaire and focus group discussions to assess human-animal interactions and perceptions of potential vaccine use. I have wanted to be a veterinarian since I was a little kid, and before vet school I never thought it would be possible to use my degree to contribute to such important research.  Outside (and sometimes inside!) of work, I love to travel and be outdoors. When I need to get into my artistic side more, you can find me in the pottery studio. Of course I love animals, especially goats and my tabby cat Sheldon. 

Nyathi. S. HeadshotSindiso Nyathi

I am a doctoral student in Epidemiology and Population Health, and a graduate student in the LaBeaud Lab. I graduated from Princeton University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. I spent two years working as a Systems Modeler at the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins University. I worked with the GOPC on assessing the effectiveness of obesity-related interventions in communities using systems science tools. My research interests include Global Health, Infectious Disease modeling and Health Policy in Low and Middle Income Countries. I am passionate about working to leverage the range of mathematical and computational tools available today to improve public health and combat disease in LMICs. My current research includes vaccine policy work, mathematical modeling of temperature dependence of arthropod vectors and vector control modeling work. Outside of class and research, I enjoy reading, swimming, photography and exploring the outdoors.

hannah-knotter-2Hannah Knotter, BS

I am a Lab Assistant at the LaBeaud Lab. I graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where I got my bachelor’s in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department with a concentration in Marine Biology. I previously spent a year working as a lab assistant for the National Marine Fisheries Service on their cohort salmon ecology project monitoring the California salmon broodstock. I joined the LaBeaud Lab to explore my budding interest in disease ecology, molecular evolution of infectious diseases, and better accessibility in global health. I will be working in the lab doing molecular biology work and processing samples to assist our ongoing research on the dengue and chikungunya viruses in Kenya.

Bethel Alebel BayrauBethel Alebel Bayrau

I am an undergraduate with a major in Human Biology and a minor in African Studies. My concentration is on infectious diseases in maternal and child health. I am interested in the intersection of viral infectious diseases, epidemiology, and maternal/child health; particularly pertaining to the sub-Saharan Africa region. At the LaBeaud lab, I will be working on two projects. One focusses on the burden of chikungunya and dengue infections in Kenya and the other on a school health promotion project in the Caribbean island of Grenada. On campus, I am co-President of the Stanford African Students’ Association and volunteer at the Pacific Free Clinic.

Kaitlyn Rose MitchellKaitlyn Rose Mitchell, BS

I am a graduate student in Biology interested in zoonotic disease transmission dynamics and within-host processes. I received my bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Washington in 2018. My previous research includes work on treatment-resistant cancers and the impact of climate change on shellfish aquaculture. My experiences curated my focus on using inter-disciplinary methods to study infectious disease across scales to improve human and environmental health collectively. In the LaBeaud Lab, I investigate potential correlations between maternal parasitic infections, infant vaccine response and iron-deficiency anemia. Additionally, I assess parasitological and immune outcomes based on nutrition and arbovirus exposure in children in Kenya.  I am passionate about global health equity and mentorship. 

Prathik Kalva Screen Shot 2020-Prathik Kalva

I am an undergraduate student at Rice University majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology with minors in Global Health Technologies and Business. I am working in the LaBeaud lab as a data assistant and I am particularly interested in the Grenada School Intervention Project because I am very interested in educating kids. At Rice, I am part of a club that goes to elementary schools to teach them various topics in science, and that is why I found this project so appealing. I hope to attend medical school in the future and my goal is to tackle the health disparities in underserved communities.

Past Members

Claire Jane Heath, PhD

Monica Nayakwadi Singer, MD

Noah McKittrick, MD

Priyanka Suresh, MBBS

Nienke (C.J.) Alberts, PhD, MSc

Jamie Caldwell, PhD

Jonathan Altamirano, MS

Amy Krystosik, MPH, PhD

Melisa Shah, MD, MPH

Elysse N. Grossi-Soyster, MS

Shama Cash-Goldwasser, MD, MPH

Sabrina Kang, MPH

Amrik Kang, MS

Eleonora Migliore, MS,MD,MS


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